This spotted hyena mom and her cubs are a common sighting in the Klaserie reserve. The Greater Kruger National Park is home to approximately 6,000 of this feliform carnivore ( Crocuta Crocuta ) and they are of least concern from a conservation standpoint.
The spotted hyena is a very complex social species of the carnivora family with large group sizes and a social structure with some similarities to that of baboons. They are a matriarchal dominant society, with females larger than males, where the male has no role in providing for the cubs and the females provide for their own cubs only.
The perception is that the hyena is primarily a scavenger when in fact they hunt more often than scavenge and are very efficient at hunting, whether by themselves or in small groups. They eat everything, to include skin and bones, being an incredibly efficient predator. They are opportunistic and adaptable with great stamina, being able to pursue prey for long periods of time at high speed.
This animal is viewed negatively in Western culture for being ugly and cowardly whilst in African folklore they are perceived to be stupid and gluttonous, as well as dangerous. Sadly this bad reputation is considered as detrimental to the long term survival of the species.
A 2009 study at Duke university showed hyaenas to be better than chimpanzees when it comes to cooperative problem solving tests.
For further information about spotted hyenas, please see here.